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John Roughan: No Pain! No Gain!

No Pain! No Gain!

John Roughan in The Solomons

When athletes prepare for the big game, they practice, practice and again,.practice more. No matter how painful, that's how they prepare. The theory behind the grinding, day-by-day, painful practice is that hard and difficult training prepares the body but especially the mind for the real test, the big game. If practice, training and preparing for the big game takes place without much pain, then victory won't come. Hence, No Pain! No Gain!

The same thing applies to nations as well. Over the past 5 years we almost lost it completely! Our ship of state was sinking fast and if truth be known, the very boats crew, our political elite, were doing their best to steer it straight to the bottom. The chances of these same boat's crew saving our country now is close to zero. In fact, many of the same boats' crew who were part of the problem in the past remain with us today.

We lucked out! RAMSI landed on our shores in mid-2003, cleared out the rot--collected thousands of guns, captured and jailed warlords and chased youthful Rambos back to their villages. We won ourselves a second chance to put our small country back together again. Our nation is, once again, thank God, firmly on the path of peace, progress and hopefully a little bit of prosperity. But progress and prosperity must work extra hard before rooting among our people. Currently we face a great deal of pain, suffering and anguish, even more than what we suffered during our Social Unrest years. But who exactly should be the first in line for the pain and suffering?. From my view point, those who were the main architects who tried to destroy us should raise up their hands first. I'm talking about our leaders, especially those in sitting in parliament!

Rather than voting themselves salary increases, they should hang their heads in shame and take a severe pay cut. One way to save the nation much needed finance is to run the country with 5 ministries and place the other 13 ministries on the shelf until the country's present danger leaves our shores. It's utter nonsense for the PM to fear motions of no confidence when parliament should govern with a Grand Coalition: all members work together to run the Ship of State over the next two years. Forget parties, opposition leaders, independents, etc. . . . the whole of parliament must pull together as never before to keep our Ship of State from sliding under the waves once again.

Select the five most competent parliamentarians to run the ministries of Finance, Education, Health, Planning and Home Affairs. All other ministries, for the next two years when the life of the house finishes, should be incorporated within the above five ministries. Run them more as departments than full blown ministries. The PM, in this new arrangement, won't keep looking over his shoulder waiting for a motion of no confidence because the whole of parliament must work together to save our beloved country from sinking once again.

RAMSI made a major break through by collecting guns, jailing warlords and chasing our youthful 'warriors' back home. But as hard and difficult as that work was, it was the easy part. Bringing the Solomons back to normality, the hard part, we now face. How do we change people's attitudes from payback to true acceptance of each other? From fighting and killing each other to work together to build a nation. Recently returned Weather Coast people from Honiara now rest quiet but for how long? RAMSI troopers are stationed there but I fear if these soldiers were to move out tomorrow, would the Weather Coast stay quiet? These people have been badly hurt, they need help and it's up to the whole of the Solomons to come to their aid.

Our country has made a great start in re-inventing itself. Not a trooper, not a police person not anybody else has been killed, even wounded. What a difference compared to Iraq where American soldiers die daily. Such facts speak loudly about Solomons people. But as wonderful as this is, it doesn't guarantee our future. No, there are many forces at work, biding their time, until the foreigners leave our shores so that they take up the very actions which brought Solomon Islands to its knees. The next two years as we prepare for national elections in early 2006, will give signs whether we have actually learnt how close we came to completely destroying ourselves. That our country continues for many more decades is not guaranteed at all. After all some African nations, after years of conflict, are still not sure if next year they will exist or not. Now is our pain time, to gain . . . our country may live again for all!

J. Roughan
15 February 2004

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